More Shows Should Be Like Heartcatch Precure

While I’ve made it fairly clear before that I think very highly of Heartcatch Precure, I realize that I have yet to actually made a post about why I think the show is so good. Today, I will correct that.

From the vibrant and colorful character designs and setting to the energy of the series to the quality of the dialogue, Heartcatch Precure has a lot going for it. But what I think is most remarkable about it is how surprisingly mature the show can be while also still being very much for children.

Since the first Pretty Cure, the central protagonists have always operated on a theme of opposites. One is smart, the other is strong. One is talented in the arts, the other is talented in sports. As the series grew to encompass larger casts, the idea of having the characters be distinctly unique in this manner grew as well, but it’s with Heartcatch Precure that characterization has hit its highest point in the franchise.

When I watched the first episode, the first thing that really caught my attention (aside from the lively animation of the opening) was the interaction between the main characters, Hanasaki Tsubomi (“Cure Blossom”) and Kurumi Erika (“Cure Marine”). Tsubomi is a transfer student, eager to defy her previous reputation as a wallflower. What she doesn’t expect however is for the seat next to her to be occupied by Erika, a fashionable girl who sometimes has trouble with the idea of “personal space.” Erika is well-meaning and is looking to make a new friend, but her aggressive, extroverted personality is too much for the introverted Tsubomi, creating a tension between the two which is only later resolved when they learn more about each other and their own fears and doubts. Tsubomi learns to be a little more confident and out-going from Erika, and Erika is in turn influenced by Tsubomi’s patience and kindness.

In case it wasn’t obvious that Heartcatch Precure is a kids’ show, the Monster of the Week format makes it very clear. Not only is there a Character of the Week that appears and needs helping out, but they are usually transformed into the Monster of the Week as well. The gimmick is that in their monstrous form, the character expresses his or her deepest negative emotions, such as the fears and doubts in their lives. Kids’ shows really don’t operate on subtlety, and the very fact that the show just tells you exactly what is wrong with the character is the very opposite of subtle, but when I take into account the fears themselves I can’t help but be impressed at the level of maturity. Anger at being told that your dream is impossible, frustration at having to grow up too quickly because of a death or illness in the family, depression at letting others down when they need you most, the series does not shy away from presenting some very serious topics. Heck, the very fact that one of the show’s main focuses is the way these negative emotions can exist in a very real way inside all people is in itself surprisingly adult.

When I look at Heartcatch Precure, I see a heart and soul behind the series. Yes, it is still a part of a merciless merchandising machine of a franchise. However,  I can see in the show that the creators desired to make a show for children that tells them, “Someone out there understands your frustration,” and helps them grow in the process. It’s something I can really get behind.

16 thoughts on “More Shows Should Be Like Heartcatch Precure

  1. The first ep blew me away, and I only recently found out this was actually on the air right now, and now I want to watch all of it~ many thanks to you for introducing it to me. It’s definitely something more than just your everyday mahou shoujo anime.


  2. I agree entirely- I feel the lastest episode, 14, is
    also a stellar example of what you point out and struck me with how sincerely it approached the character-of-the-week’s issue.

    One more reason I enjoy the show is that the villians are not utter dead weight- in particular Dark Pretty Cure, who has so far outright defeated the heroines every time she has appeared in the show. The simple fact that the
    heroines don’t always get what they want is refreshing.


    • Yeah, I am quite interested in what they have in store for Dark Precure.

      Also the possibility of seeing Cure Flower flashbacks.

      For those who don’t know, Cure Flower is a former Precure who is also Tsubomi’s grandmother, which basically says that in this setting, Precure have been around for a long time.


  3. As a father, I think it’s a mixed bag. The *-of-the-week format is bearable, because the content is solid and has heart behind it. It tries pretty hard to have insightful and human stories that capture a lot of life-lessons for really young kids, and as others have pointed out the lead characters are quite intricate for a kid’s show. It’s the first mahou-shoujo in forever I can actually stand to watch.

    My only problem, in fact, are the mahou-shoujo elements. It’s clear that marketing comes first for these guys.. you can practically hear an announcer saying “now follow along kids, with the plastic crap you got your daddy to buy you!”. Drop the mahou-shoujo merchandising engine, and this show would be awesome, but probably wouldn’t have been made in the first place.


  4. So it’s like the 2nd coming of Shugo Chara :D ? I knew it was attractive, but this is the first time I hear of it’s legitimacy… intrigued, since I don’t dislike the genre/theme.


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  6. Not so much. Heartcatch may have a striking aesthetic and more initially compelling elements than Pretty Cure has over the past few years, but that’s all Toei’s standard trick. In reality, the show is more dull than the franchise ever has been much of the time, with less straying from the trite monster-of-the-week formula than even Fresh had. Sure, there’s flashes of brilliance, the Cure Moonlight and the bizarrely ignored Itsuki bits essentially. But that’s a tiny slice of Heartcatch Precure. The worst part is that I want to like the series, yet there’s nothing here for me. Tsubomi and Erika may be the least interesting Pretty Cure leads in history.

    I’ll probably continue watching because I want to see where the Cure Moonlight plot goes versus Dark Precure and I like my weekly magical girl fix. Not like the series is actively turning me away. Yet. It’s just heavily mediocre. The Eas narrative in Fresh was better than this by episode 8-ish as is.


  7. By the way, in reply to Ryan A: Heartcatch doesn’t deservd to be mentioned in the same breath as Shugo Chara (season 1 only). Don’t insult a highly superior work like that.


    • See, here you are talking about plot advancement and such as criteria for not liking Heartcatch, when that doesn’t really factor into what I am saying. I am taking the show as almost entirely episodic and enjoying it immensely partly for that reason. The overarching story elements may not be as grandiose (yet), but it’s clear that each Character of the Week is given a good deal of care.

      And at this point, I think Heartcatch has a number of things going for it over Shugo Chara, and this is again including the fact that the show is by and large episodic.

      I forgot to include this in the article, but I would actually watch an entire show of Tsubomi and Erika without any fighting or magical girl elements whatsoever, that is how good their interaction is.


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